NaNoWriMo: Perseverance is everything

watercolor-man-standing-in-rainOn October 31st, 2016, I finished my first novel. Or rather, my first novel’s first draft. Over time, I had started to think this was an impossible feat for me. How did I do it? Short answer: perseverance and baby steps.

You see, I have a problem with moderation. An example of this would be NaNoWriMo. When I first stumbled upon it, it seemed like the ultimate solution to finishing drafts. It fit my short an intense mentality so well that I felt it had been created for me.

Except that it was not short enough and too intense. NaNoWriMo wasn’t a sprint, it was a marathon. Only Barney Stinson can run a marathon without training for it first, and we all know how that ended for him. My former attempts ended lamentably just before the end of the second week, my imagination having been sucked dry, my motivation having left for lazy vacations in the Bahamas.

cloud-2The problem, you see, was that I’d basically go from writing a little occasionally, to writing like a madman daily… When you look at it logically, it’s obvious I’d fail. But I wanted to believe in a miracle.

However, today is November 20 and I’m still in the race. What changed? One simple thing: this year, I had already be writing 500+ words a day for 2½ months before I took on myself to write 1,667 a day. I am late though. Today, I should have written 33,333 words and as I am writing this I “only” have 25,250 (which is still 1,262 words a day, more than double my former productivity). But you know what? It’s okay.

It’s okay because this year, my goal is just to finish the damn thing. To get to the finish line. I’ll try to reach 50,000 words, but I won’t make myself sick over being late. I’ve written over a thousand word daily until now and I know I can keep that pace. If I do, I’ll still have written 40,000 words in a single month. This is definitely an improvement. And more importantly, I will still be writing, not curled up in bed lamenting what a loser I am for giving up.

3-gouttes-copieSo my word of advice for you today: just keep going. Slow your pace if you have to. Fifty thousand words is an arbitrary goal. The real goal is to keep writing and finish the thing, however long that might take. Think of it that way: what you really want, in the end, is to write. Publishing and monetizing your writing is just fluff around the goal. Like Henry Miller said, writing is its own reward.

By the way, feel free to add me as a NaNo buddy. Look up Auclond.

Don’t be a writer, be writing.
– William Faulkner


21 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Perseverance is everything

  1. Hi Ida!

    It’s good to see determination in you. Your decision to join Nanowrimo will definitely help you with your goal to finish your story by 2017.

    I am really hoping you will be able to reach your vision. Keep up the good work, and don’t be too hard on yourself. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I admire that dedication! The only things I’ve ever finished were a couple children’s chapter books, which I guess is something but it’s no NaNoWriMo goal. YOU GOT THIS! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck reaching the finish line! It sounds like you’re absolutely determined, so I’m sure you will. I started writing a novel a couple of years ago, but started losing faith in the character and the direction I was taking. I’ve tried at various times to battle through the writer’s block and I’m determined I’ll finish it one day. I like how you’re setting targets – I might try that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately losing faith in one’s own work is all too common among writers, and it typically happens when you’ve reached 20 or 30k words… It has happened to me at least a dozen times while I was in high school or college, each time I’d drop the story and work on a brand new idea. But I’ve found that when you push through, not only can you regain faith in your story, you could be surprised how much better it has become compared to what you originally envisioned.
      How do you push through? Just write, thinking you can delete it all on the next day if it sucks. I do that and it’s rare that I actually delete anything. And tell yourself that you’re not writing a masterpiece. No first draft is a master piece. Especially not a first draft of a first novel.
      When you decide you want to finish your novel, I can’t recommend you enough to join the Twitter Monthly Challenge. Its supportive community really helped me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Ida! I will keep pushing through with it. Very good point… I’m the only person reading it at the moment, so it doesn’t matter if I have to write some rubbish until it all makes sense. Appreciate the advice 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Whatever works for you! I have trouble writing short stories. I guess I prefer imagining long, complex stories.

      Baby steps, though, seem to be working almost “universally”. I can’t believe it took me so long to start applying that principle to my writing.

      Thank you for your comment! ^_^


  4. Hey Ida, really appreciate your blog. I have a friend from a similar niche that I will recommend to check out your blog. Yes, Perseverance is everything. How true that is of life; how true that is in writing.

    What are your 3 favourite novels?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! My three favourite novels? Hm… Let’s make it five: Villette by Charlotte Brontë, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. There is also a special place in my heart for The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I see we have so much in common so your posts speak to me so well. I just can’t stop browsing to your blog. If you don’t mind me asking, where do you get those images that you use for something like a divider? I am really inspired with your blog. Don’t worry, I’m not yet being too fanatic. Maybe on your next post? Lol. So anyway, I’ve been seeing a lot about this NaNoWriMo but haven’t really looked into it yet. Because of this post maybe I’ll try it for this year. 🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, no worries, I’m flattered! Besides, I’ve gotten excited with other people’s blogs, too. ^_^ We have even more in common than you think: my very first Web site, from when I was a teenager, was called “Le terrier”, which is French for “The Burrow”, haha.

      The cloud, the rain drops and basically all watercolour illustrations come from Creative Market. They give away free goods every week, so I download them all – you never know what will come in handy. This week there are super cute winter and Valentine watercolour illustrations.

      NaNoWriMo is really hard (especially if you have kids). I recommend you try the Twitter Monthly Challenge (500 words a day) before you try it, or Camp NaNoWriMo (in April and July – you set your own target). That being said, the awesomely fun part about NaNoWriMo is how easy it is to find a community of writers living near you almost anywhere in the world. With mine, we now have a chat that we use all year to talk about writing and other random stuff like knitting, video games and tv series. There are also local “write-ins” where people gather in cafés or in somebody’s living room to write. If you decide to participate next year, let me know. ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

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